Second anniversary of World Bee Day proclamation
In collaboration with the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, the National Assembly organised an event to commemorate the second anniversary of the historical proclamation of World Bee Day. 20 December will mark two years since the UN General Assembly, on the initiative of Slovenia, unanimously adopted the resolution designating 20 May as World Bee Day. The purpose of the event was to highlight all key beekeeping achievements that can also be attributed to the proclamation of World Bee Day. The attendees were received by their host, the President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia, Mr Dejan Židan. The event, attended by State Secretary Dr Jože Podgoršek on behalf of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, began with the painting of beehive panels in the company of the pupils of the France Bevk Primary School in Ljubljana.
Today's event began with the painting of beehive panels in the company of the pupils of the France Bevk Primary School in Ljubljana under the expert guidance of Ms Koželj. The children painted beekeeping motifs on beehive panels. This was followed by a statement to the media in which achievements in beekeeping were presented by President of the National Assembly Dejan Židan, State Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Dr Jože Podgoršek and President of the Beekeepers' Association Boštjan Noč.
President of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia Dejan Židan emphasised the contribution of Slovenia, which was the first country to propose the prohibition of the use of nicotinoids and the protection of bees and the environment, and to motivate other Member States to support the initiative, the final decision being adopted by the European Commission. He underlined the importance of raising awareness and calling attention to the environmental and climate crisis, stressing that it called for more ambitious goals and more active responses from all of us. He thanked the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, as well as all stakeholders and individuals who had believed in the project years ago and who had made it possible for us to commemorate the second anniversary of the proclamation of World Bee Day.
State Secretary Dr Jože Podgoršek remarked that even though beekeeping seemed small compared to other agricultural sectors, it played an important role, both by providing bee products and by contributing to pollination and environmental protection. "Good collaboration with other stakeholders is key. The common agricultural policy also covers European beekeeping programmes. Due to the higher number of beekeepers and bee colonies in Member States, EU funds earmarked for the beekeeping sector increased from EUR 36 million per year for beekeeping programmes in the 2017–2019 period to EUR 40 million per year in the 2020–2022 period. In the next agricultural budget, the European Commission aims to increase funding for beekeeping programmes to a total of EUR 180 million in the 2023–2025 period. Under the Commission's proposal, Slovenia's funds for implementing measures in accordance with beekeeping programmes in the 2023–2027 period would increase from the current EUR 383 thousand per year to approximately EUR 650 thousand per year, which the country has worked particularly hard to achieve."
Dr Podgoršek also said that, at the initiative of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food intended to put before the Council of the EU an initiative for the mandatory origin labelling of honey in January in order to prevent consumers from being misled about the origin of honey.
President of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association Boštjan Noč emphasised the importance of beekeeping, thanking everyone who participated in the whole process of the World Bee Day proclamation. "All achievements during this time are important, but we still have a lot of work to do and a lot more challenges to overcome, including the establishment of the honey bee museum."
The initiative of the Slovenian Beekeepers' Association, with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food, received a positive international response. Slovenia had worked towards the proclamation of World Bee Day for more than three years. Finally, on 20 December 2017, at the plenary session of the UN General Assembly in New York, 20 May was designated as World Bee Day. The observance of World Bee Day is vital for the efforts to protect bees and beekeeping by spreading awareness among the general public about the importance of the sector.
The purpose of today's event was to emphasise all key beekeeping achievements that can also be attributed to the proclamation of World Bee Day, including a greater awareness of the importance of bees, the establishment and operation of the Beekeeping Academy of Slovenia, the visibility of Slovenian beekeeping and the Carniolan honey bee in the world, the preparation of the "World Bee Day" Operational Plan of the Government of Slovenia by 2022, a substantial increase in funding for beekeeping at the EU level, the visibility of beekeeping in the EU as an agricultural sector that is equal to others, as well as the adoption of the EU pollinators initiative and the implemented prohibition of the use of three neonicotinoids dangerous to bees.